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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Art of Rationalization

I’m not a smart man. And when you go through life not being the perkiest pair of nipples in the proverbial porno, you have a lot of crazy ideas. Crazy, dangerous, possibly illegal, certainly ill-advised, and often Commandment-breaking ideas. Many of these ideas involve small animals, power tools, or pressurized cannisters stored in places that are neither ‘cool’ nor ‘dry’. Sometimes all at once. And fire — always, always fire.

Now, as our household’s resident blithering idiot, it’s not my job to think of reasons why I shouldn’t do such outlandish and possibly eyebrow-frying nonsense. That’s left up to the wife, our close neighbors, and whoever it is at the local police station that enforces the rule against me operating small firearms. That’s a lot of people, and they’ve developed a highly efficient network to keep me from endangering the lives and property — and eyebrows — of myself and others. This keeps the house and neighborhood far, far safer.

But where’s the fun in that?

“I’d like to share with you some of my favorite techniques for rationalizing just about anything short of mass murder, global thermonuclear war, or Cleveland Browns football.”

So, I take it upon myself to find reasons why I should test my latest attempt at a microwave-powered lawnmower, or combination brassiere and nose hair trimmer, or parking the car on the front porch to keep it dry during blizzards. I know, if I really think it through, that such things are utter nonsense. They’ll never work, someone’s likely to get hurt, and everything we know about physics and automotive engineering and the flexibility of womens’ undergarments screams, ‘NOOOOOO!!!

But what can I tell you? Like I said, I’m not the wiggliest dildo on the nightstand.

But I need some reason — harebreined though it may be — to unleash my latest abomination on the world. And so, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite techniques for rationalizing just about anything short of mass murder, global thermonuclear war, or Cleveland Browns football. Next time you have a half-baked cockeyed scheme and a little time to kill, keep these thoughts in mind:

“What’s the worst that could happen?”

One of the weaker rationalization techniques, as it can only produce the desired effect if:

1. The question is taken rhetorically.
B. No one else is around to answer it.

The very last thing you want to do on the cusp of misadventure is to actually consider the worst possible consequences of the events about to transpire.

But if you can ask the question, in private, and quickly shrug it off without thinking of the laws, restraining orders, or rare and delicate fine china you may be breaking in the process, then you’re golden. Rationalize away, and pull the trigger. The proverbial trigger, that is. Probably.

“______ should work just as well as _______, right?”

Ah, the joys of ignorant substitution! If ‘necessity’ is the mother of invention, then ‘desperate idiocy’ is surely the drunken uncle that smells of feet and doesn’t get invited to family reunions.

Just try not to think about that the next time you fill in the blanks in the question with options like:

‘rubbing alcohol’ and ‘gasoline’

‘acetylene torch’ and ‘pencil sharpener’

‘Brillo pad’ and ‘dental floss’

‘battery acid’ and ‘ketchup’

‘belt sander’ and ‘loofah’

The key is to convince yourself that if it looks like the thing you’d normally use — or smells like it, sits on the same closet shelf, rhymes with it, or starts with the same letter — then it’s a perfectly reasonable substitution. Anything’s possible, right?

“I saw them do this on the teevee once.”

Well, clearly, if those Hollywood yahoos can pull something off, then we can reproduce it in the comfort of our own home, dingy apartment, or double-wide trailer, right?

Note: This method is really only applicable when the feat in question was seen on one of those shows or ads with a disclaimer like:

Professional and clinically insane stuntpeople shown; don’t try this at home, or you could be killed, prosecuted, and/or excommunicated!

Because otherwise, what’s the point, really?

“When in doubt, ________ it out!”

This is a handy little tool, because it makes anything sound perfectly reasonable. It’s good not only for bathroom projects (‘When in doubt, grout it out!‘), truffle hunting (‘When in doubt, snout it out!‘), and distracting bears at Jamborees (‘When in doubt, Cub Scout it out!‘).

Simply remove the needless restriction for rhyming, and you can justify just about anything, in language recognized as bulletproof logic by the most jaded cynic. For instance:

When in doubt, burn it out!

When in doubt, hammer it out!

When in doubt, firehose full of tapioca pudding blast it out!

See? Perfectly reasonable.

“We’ve all got to go sometime, right?”

There are many forms of this rationalization, including ‘I never wanted to live forever, anyway‘, ‘At least people will remember me, if I get a Darwin Award for this‘, and the ever-popular and matter-of-fact ‘Today is a good day to die‘.

Whatever the form, this is one of the most advanced types of practical self-delusion. Basically, if you can answer the ‘What’s the worst that can happen?‘ question with ‘My impending and almost certain doom‘, and still continue punching, welding, flapping, stripping, shooting, burning, eating, or peeing, then you’ve got this rationalization thing down cold. Give yourself a pat on the back (assuming you still have hands, and a back), for a job well justified.

All that’s left now is to fish the camcorder out of the closet and get it on tape, so the rest of us idiots can see it, and try it for ourselves. Even if we don’t own a taser or have an oxygen tank handy — live jumper cables and a full keg of beer should work just as well, right?

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

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